Frequently someone inquires, “How can I know as to whether or not I have been saved from my past sins?” This is the most important question that an individual can ask concerning himself. Unfortunately many seek the answer in the wrong place and source.
Let us first consider some of the wrong ways in which men in general attempt to learn whether they are saved. Some claim, “I know that I’m saved because I feel it right here!” (while pointing to the left side of their chests). But Solomon stated by inspiration: “He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered” (Prov. 28:26). Also, the prophet Jeremiah declared, “O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps” (Jer. 10:23).
It is the inspired Word of God that gives us spiritual light to direct our path. The psalmist reverently stated unto the Heavenly Father, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psa. 119:105). Thus, the realization of a person’s spiritual salvation is not derived by subjectivity—his feelings—but rather by objectivity—evidence outside his own being.
Others seek after a supernatural sign from Heaven as evidence of their salvation. The Apostle Paul warns of those who seek after supernatural signs instead of receiving the truth in love (2 Thess. 2:9-10). God’s inspired Word is the truth that saves (John 17:17; 1 Pet. 1:22-23).
Similar to those who look for a supernatural sign, there are those who claim to have received a message from “a still voice.” But what message could such a voice provide for us concerning salvation that is not already included in the Scriptures? According to the Apostle Peter, we have already received “…all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue” (2 Pet. 1:3).
There are still others who claim that they have seen an angel who declared their salvation. However, the Apostle Paul warns against those claiming salvation by an angel that conflicts with the gospel of Christ (Gal. 1:6-9).
Still others claim that they obtained redemption by receiving the Holy Spirit. There is not one example in the Bible of a person being saved by a direct operation of the Holy Spirit. The truth of the matter is that those of the world cannot receive the Spirit (John 14:16-17). God’s inspired Word is the instrument of the Spirit to convict us of sin (Acts 2:36-37). In adhering to that inspired Word, a precious soul is born into the spiritual kingdom of God, which is the church (1 Pet. 1:23; Jas. 1:18; Acts 2:47).
Many feel that they are saved because they have “accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior.” But Jesus reveals that such a claim is inadequate in obtaining salvation. Recorded at Luke 6:46, He declared: “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” Not only that, but our Lord informs us that professing religious allegiance unto Him is insufficient when an individual fails to do the Heavenly Father’s will (Matt. 7:21-23).
In a positive way, how can we know whether or not we are saved? The Apostle John tells us at First John 2:3-5 how we can know concerning this most important matter. He stated:
And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.
The Apostle Paul further clarifies how a person enters into Christ. He reveals that an obedient believer is baptized into Christ (Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:26-27). A person baptized into covenant fellowship with the Lord becomes a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17; Eph. 1:3).
The inspired Word is the medium in which the Holy Spirit has revealed what is necessary for our salvation (Jas. 1:21; Acts 11:14; 2 Pet. 1:3). The Apostle Peter, by inspiration, revealed what a person must do to be saved from their sins, “…they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls” (Acts 2:41). It is our prayer that you will place your trust in the inspired Word of God rather than the creeds of men, or your own feelings and preconceived concepts of salvation.